I stayed at the Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort outside of Cairo, Egypt. It was a launching area for visits to Cairo, Alexandra, as well as the Pyramids of Egypt.
Being an advertised golf resort, naturally I brought my clubs to show off my 25 handicap to the locals. Of course they would be impressed.
My first day on the driving range the local Pro of the course took an interest in my abilities. He told me how impressed he was with my Callaway clubs as well as my golf swing. He then asked if I would like to join him in a round of golf the next day. Excited the resident Pro noticed my raw talent I eagerly agreed and we set up a time.
The next day we met at the appointed time and began our round. The course was difficult for me because there was not much turf to hit the ball off. I asked the Pro and he informed me of the strict water limitations available for grass watering. Everything comes from the Nile and it is expensive.
As we progressed through the round the Pro began to give me tips on how to improve my swings. Was I not as good as I thought I was? Had he fraudulently boosted my ego the prior day? But I shrugged it off and continued the round.
Increasingly the Pro took more and more interest in my game providing further instructions. Some of which was quite contrary to my early teachings in the USA. Was he really a Pro I thought?
We ended the round of 18 holes with me coming in with a 92. Not bad for me on a foreign short grass course. He beat me but somewhat marginally with an 86. This seemed quite high a number for a golf Pro, but then I thought, this is Egypt and how much golf do they play?
As we walked from the 18th hole I thanked him for taking the time to play a round with me and offered him a $20 tip for attempting to help me with my game. He thanked me for it but as we continued to walk he sheepishly added that $20 was not sufficient and he normally would get $40 for such help. He told me not to worry about it now, but bring it next time I’m on the course.
I was stunned. I thought we were just playing a friendly round. No tip or compensation was ever agreed upon. Now he wants double my offer?
Now golf pros in Egypt probably made about $50 per day at that time. So I thought my tip was generous enough, especially since I never solicited his marginal help. Besides, he was being paid to play golf! Is extra money really required?
I left him feeling somewhat embarrassed. But as I thought more about it I got angry. I realized it was all a ploy. He targeted me from my first day because I was an American. His only intent was to extract what he could while feigning friendship. Quell surprise!
The next day I complained to the hotel manager regarding his predatory actions. But the hotel manager said the course was independently operated and he would forward my comments to the course manager.
Later that day I went back to the course to play and Mr. Friendly was there eagerly to greet me. His expression changed rapidly when I let him have it. Alice Cooper would have been proud, it was no more Mr Nice Guy for me.
I told him he took advantage of me the prior day and I had reported his antics. His demeanor changed and was completely apologetic even offering to return the $20 which I rejected. I told him to stay away from me during the rest of my stay and we parted.
As I was later hitting some balls on the driving range the course manager found me and offered apologies. He offered me a free round of golf but I told him it was not necessary. He also said he would address the situation with the Pro. All the while we were talking the Pro was watching intently from a distance. Nervous I’m sure.
I realize when traveling there are many who look to take advantage. Some times it’s ok if they’re being upfront about it. But it really irritates me when anyone pretends friendship and niceties only to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Was I wrong to feel this way? I think the comment button is working now.